Ethics are the desirable values and morals that are highly acceptable by an individual or society as a whole. Ethical leadership is that leadership in which a leader conducts in order for the betterment of the individuals and is highly related to the concepts of trust, honesty and fairness at the workplace. An ethical leader is not only a right asset for the firm but they also contribute in delivering great financial results for the company. The ethical nature of a leader helps them in maintaining a positive attitude in the workplace and has a lot to do with the health of an organization. Moreover, the ethical leadership elements help in building strong relationships in the workplace and the employees easily get along with each other.
The following report has been written to evaluate the current ethical dilemma faced by the chosen organization Uber Technologies Inc. which is a leading American transportation network company. The report begins with an overview of the company in the first section. This section is followed by a discussion of the ethical issue/s that has been currently faced by the company. In the third section, there will be an application of the theoretical concepts from the managerial skills so as to critically evaluate the ethical dilemma. After this section, the following portion talks about the precise influence of the theoretical concepts on the managerial practices of Uber. The last section discusses the critical reflection over the leaders in ensuring the application of ethics in the crucial decision making processes (Centage, 2004).
The Uber Technologies Inc. provides a Smartphone application that helps the customers or the people who needs a ride with the drivers just by using an app or website on their phones. The company was founded in the year 2009 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA. The firm was formerly named as UberCab Inc. which was changed to Uber Technologies Inc. in October, 2010. At present, it has employed over 6,700 people across the globe and operates in 570 cities worldwide. This on-demand taxi service has brought a revolution in the Taxi industry across the globe. An easy business model of the company has made it possible for the customers to simply tap their mobile phones and book a cab of their choice. The cab arrives at their location in the minimum possible time (Belarbi, 2015).
Ranking among the leading Tech companies across the world, Uber has been valued over $50 Billion and has even received an equity funding of $8.2 Billion. This shows the extreme trusts of the investors in the company’s business model. The firm has offered different car models to cater the specific needs all of its customers. Uber has not limited itself to a particular segment of cars or to a particular target market segment, rather, it offers both for the ones looking for cost-effective solutions and even for the ones who simply admires luxury (Hartmans, 2016).
Uber is the fastest growing company, but at the same time the firm has been facing myriads of ethical leadership controversies. The company has been accused by a number of competitors and customers of violating the most basic standards of business ethics to stifle competition. Some of the major investors of the company have considered ongoing unacceptable events in the company as an acceptable part of everyday business life but it is certainly not. Rather, it has emerged from the unethical leadership practices prevailing in the company.
Ethical Dilemma faced by the organization
Uber has done a plenty of questionable things ranging from attacking a journalist to blaming valuable customers. Uber’s commercials are also rated by the customers and broadcasting agencies as sexist. Also, the employees are not treated in a well manner rather they are considered merely as commodities for increasing the profit rates and improve sales. The recent actions and the public pronouncements from the senior executives of the company have been questioned extremely both in terms of ethics as well as business practices (Davey, 2017).
Among all the prime ethical issues, the most concerned is the treatment of the employees in the company. Uber is experimenting on drivers without letting them know. The researchers have revealed that the company has been using the employees as the Guinea Pigs in order to test its various app designs and prodding them to do what they want instead of allowing them to follow their own instincts (McCormick, 2016)s.
It is a great observation in the business world that the companies which tend to leave the control in the hands of the major employees are more successful than the others in the market. Uber has tried to remove the drivers’ agency and hence simply snatch away the autonomy from the drivers. The Good Incentive Systems have not worked in the case of Uber instead from an ethical perspective it has created a big problem. In case of good incentive, the employees are asked to make choices that whether they want to work extra for additional reward or simply remain content with their work and pay. But, in case of Uber, the employees were not asked to make any choices rather they were given a single option of working continuously without breaks. The officials have justified this act by saying that they have adopted such rules and policies in order to make a proper use of their human resource and even provide them ample of options of work and growth (Team, 2017).
There have been a number of cases reported when the Uber has lured its employees to lower-demand locations where most of their time is spent idle and unpaid. This formula successfully works for the company and for the customers, but at the same time is highly painful for the drivers. In this case, the company has considered that such an approach is beneficial to the company as more and more customers could be reached, but at the same time Uber is forcing the drivers to do such things that are contrary to their self interest (Dufour, 2016).
The policies that have been designed by the company for its employees have always been justified with a fact that they have been developed keeping in mind the interests of the employees. The ethical dilemma that arises here is whether the current situations are boosting the employees or they are simply developing an aversion towards their job. The company policies are designed simply to maximize the firm’s outcomes on the expenses of drivers’ interests. Because of this, Uber has crossed the ethical lines and the most frightening thing is that there is no one to protect the rights of the employees in such firms. Uber also faces an ethical dilemma of expansion and diversification in such a situation as it is not able to provide its employees the best services and experiences (Huddleston, 2014).
Theoretical concepts from managerial skills
Managerial ethics are the moral guidance being provided by the manager to its employees and subordinates. The ethical approaches differ from one industry to another and even from one company to another. It is advised that each company should design its own ethical considerations and policies. The concept of managerial ethics allows a person to be socially responsive and deals with all the right and wrong doings along with moral duties and moral obligations.
It is the prime role of the managers to uphold the ethical code and even encourage the others to follow it. There are a number of theoretical concepts related to managerial ethics, but only a few relate to the ethical dilemma faced by Uber in the recent years (Casali, 2008). The first concept here depicts that the managers hold supreme authority and which makes them accountable to listen to the prevailing unethical problems in the company. The available theories also suggest that the managers also have a power to reform the current code of ethics or guidelines as to meet the specific requirements of the employees (Mihelic & Lipi?nik, 2010). Uber managers have used this power of amending the ethical policies of the company till now only to increase the sales and revenue of the company. There is a great scope where the managers could use this position to implement better ethical decisions in the company. The employees are the major assets for the firm and better ethical policies and decisions could make wise decisions for every individual in the company.
As the company is facing an ethical dilemma currently and in this position it could easily calm down the situations if the managers respond quickly and appropriately to the ethical issues faced by the employees. This could definitely minimize the impact of suspected ethical violations. The managers could make them available as a beneficial resource which could guide and counsel the subordinates who are facing the ethical dilemmas or who are simply a suspect for ethical breach (Boudreau, 2017).
The second theoretical concept of the managerial ethics suggests that as some of the ethical dilemmas are usually unavoidable, hence the managers must be prepared with a number of options and plans that could be readily implemented in times of certain ethical breaches. The managers should understand their roles and responsibilities and expectations of the company with their position. Ethical ambiguity is not acceptable at any stage of development of the company by the managers. The managers are required to clarify the doubts related to any unethical issues in the company and at the same time report it to the higher authorities for proper suggestions and innovative options. At present, Uber is facing an ethical dilemma that whether the policies and rules that have been proposed by the company for the employees are beneficial for each and every individual r whether they are simply adding up to the revenues and profit rates of the firm on the expenses of the employees satisfaction with the company. The company is also in a doubt that whether there is a need to reform the current practices and policies or the improved profit rates are enough for the survival of the company in this immensely competitive business world. In such a case it becomes the prime duty of the managers to set a framework that would help them to responsibly make right decisions when the company faces any future ethical dilemma. This framework usually consists of three methodologies, including the human rights, the justice and the utilitarian methods (Wallbank, 2014). The current employee policies could be made more ethical by using the human right method as the basis of major decision making processes. The basic rights of the human including health, freedom, life, property and privacy are considered while framing the rules and policies for the company. Violation of any of these rights is considered as unethical and the managers, ensure that these basic rights are properly implemented. The utilitarian methods are also used as a basis to consider which of the practices are ethical or unethical in the company. This method is unique because it involves the manager gauging the overall amount of the benefits that would result from a decision. The more are the benefits, the more ethical it would be for the company.
Influence of theoretical concepts on managerial practices
The managerial practices are to be planned and implemented in the most appropriate manner so as to meet the specific requirements of all the stakeholders associated with the firm. There are a number of theoretical concepts of business ethics that influences the service delivery qualities of the managers, but only two have been discussed in the above section. There are both direct and indirect influences of these concepts on the managerial practices.
Firstly, the managers if review the current ethical practices and periodically reform and amend them, then they surely improve their decision making ability and take wise decisions in times of economic turmoil or other inevitable troubles. Moreover, the amendments of the ethical policies and procedures improve the relationships of the managers with their subordinates as they reach every participant of the firm for their opinions and suggestions in the policies. Subsequently, the improved communication conveys the exact motives, goals and targets of the company in a better manner to the employees and other crucial stakeholders of the company (Patrick & Nwibere, 2014).
By having the powers of the company to spread the awareness of ethical business elements and also incorporate this approach in every single business unit of the company, the managers have been able to win the trust of their followers. The ethical leaders generally have a tendency to lead by examples and hence the followers believe that whatever decisions are being taken in the company is extremely beneficial to each of the individuals in all possible manners. The amendments in the ethical policies also allow the managers to pace up with the changing business environments at the global level and adopt various ongoing trends in order to pose a great competition to the similar types of companies offering cab services in major countries.
From the second theoretical concept, the managers could learn to recognize their roles and responsibilities at an early stage so that the future problems are extremely minimized. The ethical managerial practices influence the executives in a precise way by allowing them to understand their position in the company and deliver their services for the prime benefit of the firm. The managers have also learned to make the immediate corrections if they ever commit any sort of unethical mistake (Petrisor, 1998). This is because they hold a high position in the company and most of the crucial events are based on the decisions they have taken. A small mistake could cost a lot to the firm and hence the managers are required to remain alert and avoid causing mistakes. Ethical managerial skills allow the managers to seek the most appropriate solutions for the unethical conducts and in a very less time. They also help to keep calm in certain situations where patience is required from the managers so that they could concentrate on resolving the issue rather than resolving personal conflicts due to the issues (Robbins & Coulter, 2010).
Role of leaders in ethical decision making process
Leaders of all types are faced with myriads of decision making processes in their entire career and they are required to make ethical decisions that are beneficial for all the crucial stakeholders of the company. There is a precise role being played by the leaders in the ethical decision making process. The leaders are the only ones that decide what is ethically good or bad for the company and its people and hence they hold the supreme power to accept or reject any new proposal or the change plan. The leaders also have a power to change the current ethical policies and adopt the ones that are prevailing in the other industries. This helps the company to maintain an edge over the other similar competitors in the market (University, 2017).
The leaders also inspire and encourage the subordinates to collaboratively work in determining whether their services are ethically correct or they simply need to work to improve the way they work and cater the specific needs of the clients. In case of Uber, the managers or the other leaders also play a role of listening to the requirements of the employees and implementing certain rules and regulations in order to make the requirements workable. But, all this process is done only if the executives find the requirements ethically and which do not interfere with the core working strategy of the company (Bavec, 2011).
The ethical decisions are made in a company if the managers convey the exact importance of ethical working in the company to the subordinates and the other crucial stakeholders of the company. When the prime participants of the company recognize the importance of the ethical practices in the business, then it is easy to implement such practices in the core working strategies of the company. The leaders are also held responsible for better understanding of which ethical practices are to be adopted and which all could be avoided. This is basically done to avoid the useless expenses and utilization of limited resources of the company (Fox & Crigger, 2012).
Uber has been constantly facing an ethical dilemma that whether its current policies for the employees are ethically correct or not. The researches have shown that although the company has been constantly working to improve its profits and sales, but at the same time a little has been done for the betterment of the employees. To implement the ethical business practices, the company’s leaders has to adopt an ethical way of working and convey its supreme benefits to the employees and other crucial stakeholders. Also, it is the prime duty of the leaders to reform the current ethical practices of the company so as to make them compatible with the prime requirements of the employees and the changing trends of doing business in the markets.
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